Longtime comics and pop-culture retailer Bud Plant has announced plans to retire after more than 40 years in the business and is looking for a buyer for his California-based mail-order business. He sent the following letter to a number of media outlets:
I thought about writing this letter as a press release, in the third person, but decided like my long-time catalog editorials, I’d just speak directly to you. It’s been a great run of 41 years since I started this business — in the bedroom of my parent’s house in 1970. Eighteen years later, in 1988, I sold what had become the nation’s third largest new comics distribution company to Diamond Comic Distributors. At the same time I also sold the single largest chain of (seven) comic stores in the U.S., Comics & Comix, the first of which opened in 1972. From there I concentrated on rebuilding and growing my catalog/mail-order business, which had taken a back seat to those other operations. Now 23 years later, Bud Plant Comic Art is the premiere source for mail-order specialty books in both the comics industry and in the book world.
My own interests have evolved. Several years ago my partner Jim Vadeboncoueur and I started Bud Plant Illustrated Books. We specialized in used and rare illustrated books, as well as out of print comics, fantasy and art books. Today that business continues with my current partner Anne Hutchison, enabling me to do what I enjoy most, exhibiting at antiquarian book shows, comic books shows and in a local co-operative bookstore. I also sell on the internet as Bud Plant & Hutchison Books.
So I am offering Bud Plant Comic Art, also known as Bud’s Art Books, for sale. I’m sending this message out to everyone I know in the comic book industry and the book world. This is where I think I’ll find the right buyer to take over. I’m hopeful the synergy between my long-established business, and another retailer or publisher, will be evident to the right person.
We currently produce 15 full-color catalogs each year: Twelve 48-page Bud’s Art Books catalogs of specialty books, and three “Incorrigible” catalogs of erotica, pin-up and more adult material. We do this from our long-time location in Grass Valley, a small town in the Sierra foothills of northern California. Our location allows us to maintain low overhead and salary costs. Most of my experienced and outstanding employees have been with me for more than 10 years—several more than 20 years—including my general manager, Dave Cowie. They know the business backwards and forwards and have built long-term relationships with customers as well as publishers, allowing me to step back from day-to-day operations over the past several years. Today I spend just a few hours each week at the warehouse. Lately, I’m more often found setting up and running our annual booths at the San Diego Comic-Con and at San Francisco’s Wonder Con.
But it’s time for me to take that last step and move the business on to the right person or company. I’ve always been a fan and customer myself of the material we sell, leading me to build a business where customer satisfaction is paramount. Simply put, service based on how I would expect to be treated. As a result, many of our customers have stayed with us for many years, sometimes decades. The Bud Plant organization is widely known for exceptionally careful packing and shipping; informed and exceptionally helpful customer service; an outstanding selection of unusual and hard-to-find books with new material being added virtually every day; and our informative catalog descriptions and personal recommendations. We also brought all this to the web with an outstanding, secure e-commerce site where there is even more information, multiple pictures of each book, longer descriptions and customer reviews.
We count among our current customers tens of thousands throughout the world, from well-known artists and illustrators, to teachers, students, collectors and fans of the many genres of material we offer. We’ve also expanded the business in recent years — prompting the name change to Bud’s Art Books — to address the growing interest in nostalgia and pop-culture material. Over the years we have developed strong ties and highly desirable terms with hundreds of publishers. We also design and produce all of our catalogs in-house, which are then printed and mailed for maximum efficiency by carefully selected printers and mailing houses.
More specific information is available to serious inquiries. I want this to be a smooth transition that ultimately benefits our existing customers as well as the right company who understands the value of owning what may be the most trusted name in the comics and specialty bookselling field.
All the best, Bud.
Bud’s Art Books
PO Box 1689
Grass Valley, CA 95945
(530) 273-2066, Ext. 1
Mon-Fri 8am-3pm P.T.